The Worlds: too early for decision / Gesto: publication expected soon / Sean Somers’ new collection / The Scottish variant

The Worlds, 2018.

With the Scottish Government planning to help major events return in the summer months – as long as infection rates are kept down – this could mean that the World Pipe Band Championships may be in a position to take place “in some form,” a source at the City of Glasgow Council told Bagpipe.News yesterday. The council stages the Worlds via its charity organisation, Glasgow Life.

“The clarification that the Scottish Government has promised for events has certainly given us some idea of the practicalities,” he said. “The summer is still a while away yet but it’s good to see just how fast the vaccine programme is being rolled out.

“We should have a better idea quite soon of whether or not the Worlds will go ahead in some form but at the moment it’s still too early to say. As you may know, the Government’s route map [out of lockdown] only allows for the resumption of ‘small-scale’ indoor and outdoor events from the middle of May.”

The Scottish Government is aiming for Scotland to return to its levels system of restrictions from April 26, with all mainland areas moving down to Level 3 at that stage, which is broadly in line with Wales and Northern Ireland. Bars and restaurants will be able to reopen from that date subject to restrictions. Alcohol can be served outdoors until 22:00. Indoor hospitality will resume more slowly, with only non-alcoholic drinks served with food until 20:00. Tourist accommodation and hotels could reopen from that date, along with museums, galleries and libraries. Edinburgh Castle and other attractions will reopen next month. Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is plannig for a phased reopening of its sites from April 30, Safety measures will still be in place at all venues.

The latest update to the Scottish Government’s route map was published on March 23. It can be found by clicking here.

The RSPBA tentatively penciled in August 13-14 as the date for this year’s flagship pipe band event. West Dumbartonshire Council told us it was still too early to make a decision on whether the Scottish Pipe Band Championships, scheduled for July 31, would go ahead. Any return of major events this summer will also affect others such as the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and the Edinburgh International Festival.

Reccent modelling has suggested as many as 30,000 people could die by the summer of 2022, even with a gradual reopening and good vaccine rollout.

The long-awaited publication of the Gesto manuscript looks like it will take place this year.

Progress stalled after the death in June 2015 of Professor Roderick Cannon of the University of East Anglia in England who had been preparing the book for publication.

Sarah Franklin, Roderick’s daughter, has largely completed the editing, with input from the historian, Keith Sanger of East Lothian, Scotland.

Roddy Cannon delivering the 2015 College of Piping Lecture at the Birnam Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland. His lecture – The Music of John MacCrimmon (The ‘Gesto Canntaireachd’) – will be posted on Bagpipe.News in the next few days.

Niel MacLeod was a minor laird whose estate was at Gesto on the west coast of Skye. His book contains 20 tunes in canntaireachd, taken, apparently from John (Iain Dubh) MacCrimmon. Edinburgh pipe makers and music publisher, J. & R. Glen reprinted it in 1880. Roderick had discovered in National Library in Edinburgh a short manuscript written by Gesto, of historical notes.

Roderick was involved with the publication of quite a few books on ceòl mòr, all of which involved him returning to the sources, to identify and explore them systematically, and then to publish them. Much of what we know now about piping and ceòl mòr is owed to him.

Roddy served on the Pìobaireachd Society’s Music Committee for over three decades.

• ‘Salute to Roddy Cannon’ by Hugh Cheape.

The 2021 United States Piping Foundation’s MacLean MacLeod Memorial Competition has been cancelled. Organisers hope to run an in-person event at the University of Delaware on June 18, 2022.

Leading Canadian piper and composer, Sean Somers has just published a collection of 120 pieces of new music. Most are from the Alberta piper’s own pen but the collection also include pieces from some of piping’s best-known composers such as Bruce Gandy, Alex Gandy, Don Bradford, Bob Worrall, Michael Grey Neil Dickie, Ann Gray, Iain MacCrimmon, James MacHattie.

Sean Somers and, inset, his new collection.

Somers’ collection is called The Out West Collection and he has recorded several YouTube videos of himself playing and providing a bit of insight and background to several tunes from the collection.

“There’s lots of new tunes that the Rocky Mountain Pipe Band has played recently, some other medley favourites from when Alberta Caledonia was still around, as well as tunes going back to my time with the 78th Highlanders in Halifax,” Somers explained.

“The gifts of COVID-19 have been few and far between, but this has been one of them. It’s been a long-time dream of mine to publish a book of my own music, and in the absence of band practices, competing or judging at contests, the timing was right.

“For years, many others have encouraged me along the way, and fast-forward to now, the right time, the right circumstances and that dream has finally become a reality,” said Somers.

Somers says he came up with the title while living “back east” in Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia where he was always referred to as the fella from “out west” (or “from away”).

The book can be purchased at in the coming weeks.

  • Bagpipe.News hopes to carry a review in due course.

COVID-19: so far we’ve had a Brazil variant, South African variant, British variant, Kent variant, a Tanzania variant … now a Bagpipe.News reader in Germany sent us this image of the Scottish variant.

Enjoy your day.